Presidents Cup: Day 2 Birdies & Bogeys
Who were the winners and losers on Friday at Muirfield Village? It's time to take a closer look with another edition of birdies and bogeys
October 03, 2013
Birdie: Phil and Keegan
America's chummiest golf partnership suffered a rare defeat on Day 1, but the pair was all fist pumps and congratulatory butt slaps on Friday. After racing to a 3-up lead before the latest batch of bad weather came through, the duo won the first three holes when play re-started to go 6 up and wound up winning 4 and 3. What was the difference? Perhaps they spent this delay refining their celebration repertoire to stay loose.
For a second straight day, bad weather caused a delay in play and this time, they didn't finish. That will make a long Saturday even longer, as four matches will have to be completed before two five-match sessions start. To make matters worse, the weekend's forecast is just as shaky, with the worst weather yet predicted for Sunday. Good thing most of these players aren't planning on playing in the PGA Tour's 2013-2014 season opener, the Frys.com, next week.
Birdie: Davis Love III
The saga of "Sammy the Squirrel," the young rodent that had attached itself to U.S. assistant captain Davis Love on Thursday, came to an end on Friday, with Love allowing the unexpected team mascot to climb back into a tree and reunite with its mother. Love said he even researched the best way to care for a squirrel, which we applaud. The last thing we needed was a Presidents Cup closing ceremonies interrupted by protesters from PETA.
Bogey: Nick Price
After falling behind on Day 1, the International captain kept his lineup the same. It wound up keeping the status of the matches the same as well. Certainly, a slim deficit isn't a disaster for a team considered a big underdog coming in, but perhaps some tinkering could have been more productive. With 12 singles matches that always tend to favor the Americans lurking on Sunday, it's only going to get harder for the Internationals to make up ground.
Birdie: Brendan de Jonge
Viewed as a questionable captain's pick before the week started, de Jonge has been unquestionably the International team's best player through two days. De Jonge followed up an eight-birdie performance on his own ball Thursday with more stellar play on Friday. He rolled in a birdie putt to start the round and he knocked his team's second shot onto the par-5 15th to seal a 4-and-3 win. Once again, de Jonge was asked to carry a slumping Ernie Els. Good thing the Zimbabwean is a big dude. Speaking of Els...
Bogey: Ernie Els' putting stroke
On several occasions, Els noticeably cut across the ball so bad he essentially hit a slice with the putter. In fact, the only time he holed anything substantial it came from a greenside bunker. How bad has it been for Els on the greens? We'll let NBC's Johnny Miller sum it up: "His putting stroke right now ... he needs to see somebody."
Birdie: Amicable break-ups
You know those families where the parents divorce and get remarried but they all still go on awesome vacations together? That's like the U.S. team with Steve Stricker and Tiger Woods, two veterans who had become a go-to pairing after going 4-0 at Harding Park in 2009. Now both have moved on to new partners in Jordan Spieth and Matt Kuchar, respectively. The new partnerships haven't lost a match yet, which is why Fred Couples will probably keep them all together a third-straight day. Don't fret, Tiger and Stevie. You'll always have San Francisco.
Bogey: Keegan Bradley's shoes
We love how Bradley fancies himself as much an athlete as an NBA shooting guard, but the elephant print Air Jordans he's sporting this week takes the notion a step too far. "Just wearing these shoes makes me a little bit cockier, little more ready to win," Bradley said earlier this week. And if there's an offensive rebound to grab at any point this week, Keegan will be the best equipped to come down with it.
Birdie: Tiger Woods
Much has happened in the 12 months since last fall's Ryder Cup, when Woods was sat down in team competition for the first time as a professional. For starters, he won five times and the Player of the Year award in 2013. But while his play in team competition has always been a wildcard, he has looked every bit the world's top-ranked player through two days. Woods nearly jarred an approach shot on his first swing of Friday and once again seemed to be as having as much fun as he's had on a golf course in a long time playing with Matt Kuchar.
Bogey: Hunter Mahan
Saturday will be the first opportunity for U.S. captain Fred Couples to hide two struggling players. One candidate at this point is Hunter Mahan, who is the only American to drop two matches at Muirfield Village. After losing in Thursday's best ball alongside Brandt Snedeker, Mahan and Friday partner Bill Haas were rolled by Ernie Els and Brendan de Jonge 4 and 3 in foursomes. After a season that featured a strong major championship showing and a runner-up in the Accenture Match Play, Mahan was expected to bring more than he has to this year's Presidents Cup. The question is whether he'll have a chance before Sunday to redeem himself.